In Memoriam: John Edward Hurley (1935-2021)



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John Edward Hurley, a longtime civic leader in the Metro Washington region and a co-founder of the Justice Integrity Project, died earlier this month at age 85 following complications from cancer.

He is shown above in a photo at the National Press Club that illustrated his characteristic good humor and desire to spread learning. He was a close friend, colleague and advisor to this editor and to many, many others.

To mark his passing on May 7, we have assembled below three obituaries, two of them tributes authored by two of his other close friends and admirers. One, John Edward Hurley, chairman of McClendon Group, friendly Reliable Source regular, 85, was by Kenneth Dalecki of the National Press Club (and also its American Legion Post, which John Hurley led for many years as Commander).

The other, Sad announcement, was by investigative reporter Wayne Madsen, who is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report and the author of 20 books.

The third, Obituary of John Edward Hurley, was prepared by his family for publication by Advent Funeral and Cremation Services. 

We include also selected comments offered by others who worked with him during his long and varied career, which included White House news coverage working with the late, iconic Sarah McClendon, founder of the McClendon News Service that began in 1946.

Among other civic projects, he was a co-founder of the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable and he developed the public relations program that brought together the various breed registries that comprise the American Horse Council. He volunteered also to promote the Medical Musical Group, a symphony orchestra made up of doctors and care-givers in the Veterans Administration Hospitals who perform  concerts worldwide to benefit U.S. veterans.

Throughout his career, he had a special interest in the integrity of the court system and hosted many news events on the subject. These included what for many years were presentations every month or so of newsworthy topics via the McClendon Speaker Group at the National Press Club, plus other events meriting coverage, including by C-SPAN.

The portrait above is a screenshot from a video interview in which he explained why he continued the McClendon tradition of a speaker group that featured diverse experts whose revelations and oft-controversial views might not receive the attention they deserved. Speakers would submit to questioning over small dinners at the Club. This editor, deputy chair of the group in recent years while its leader John Hurley was in failing health, plans to continue the dinner meetings under an updated name: The McClendon-Hurley Group.

Among those fondly remembering Hurley in recent days was Tony Culley-Foster, founder & director of the International Youth Peace Forum Inc. in Washington, DC. He shared this overview:

Once again the page has turned in the National Press Club history book with the passing of a true gentleman who had a great love of journalism, people and horses. 

I reveled in introducing John to hundreds of NPC members and guests over the past 20 years, as he was indisputably one of the standard bearers of the small but mighty NPC Irish Division — and of those ‘wanna be’s,’ all of whom he gladly embraced, as “Irish by Association!“

three leaf cloverIt was my privilege to call John Hurley friend. I treasure all the golden memories of good times shared in his company, his mischievous sense of humor and wonderful twinkling eyes and smile.

In Ireland, one of our highest compliments to others about the death of a decent man like John Hurley is “Take a good look at that man. For when he is gone, it will be a long time before you will see his like again!” 

More Fond Remembrances

National Press Club, John Edward Hurley, chairman of McClendon Group, friendly Reliable Source regular, 85, Kenneth Dalecki, May 12, 2021. John Edward Hurley was not one to follow the herd in journalism or other endeavors. Like his close friend and eventual business partner, pioneer female journalist Sarah McClendon, the 29-year National Press Club member pursued his own course while being a friendly and familiar figure at the Club's Reliable Source. Hurley died May 7 at a hospice in Arlington, Va., of lung cancer. He was 85.

Hurley was chairman of the McClendon Group, which hosted meetings with newsmakers in the Club's 14th-floor room Hurley helped have named after the maverick White House correspondent. He noted that McClendon often went after stories mainstream journalists ignored, such as shortcomings at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"More often than not, she proved to be right in the long run," he said.national  press club logo Reliable Source manager Mesfin Mekonen called Hurley a dear friend.

"Mr. Hurley was clearly a man who loved to make people laugh and smile," Mekonen said. "When he would arrive at the Reliable Source, he would ask me if anybody was looking for him or if he owed anybody money. He will be dearly missed here at the NPC."

Wayne Madsen, editor of the Wayne Madsen Report, said of Hurley: "John always had a kind word for those he knew and even those who he had just met. When my mother was in a nursing home with dementia, John, a deeply religious man, always let me know he was praying for her and that he had lit a candle in his church for her upon learning of her passing."

john hurley smileHurley worked as a White House correspondent and was a commentator on News Talk America, and was a member of the public information committee of the National Academy of Sciences. He was born in D.C. and raised in Arlington.

A devout Catholic, Hurley graduated from Gonzaga College High School and attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He and his wife, Doris, who predeceased him last year, had lived in his boyhood Arlington home until his illness.

Like McClendon, Hurley was a proud veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who served as commander of the Club's American Legion Post 20.

"John kept Post 20 going through some lean years, bridging the gap between World War II veterans such as Don Larabee and John Cosgrove and Vietnam-era vets," said Jim Noone, current commander of the Post, which now has some 70 members. "John was Commander from 2007 to 2012 and stayed active as the Post's historian."

History was one of Hurley's passions, especially that of Washington, D.C., and the Civil War. He loved comparing current political foibles to similar ones from the past. He was the historian for the John Barry Division of the Hibernians and co-founder of the Capitol Hill Civil War Roundtable.

He had a special interest in the integrity of the court system and hosted several news events on that subject. Andrew Kreig, who called Hurley "a dear friend of mine and so many others," worked with him when Hurley became co-founder and director of the Justice Integrity Project 11 years ago.

Hurley served on the board of directors of the Veterans Administration Music Group, and was a member of the Club's History and Heritage Committee. An accomplished horseman, Hurley was a patron of the Thornton Hill Fort Valley Hounds fox hunting club and a sponsor of the Rappahannock Hunt, and he developed a public relations program that combined various breed registries in the American Horse Council.

Survivors include his brothers, Michael and Robert.

Visitation: St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1914 North Randolph Street, Arlington, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. was on Thursday, May 13, followed immediately by Mass. Interment was on May 14, at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, 1300 Bladensburg Road, Washington, D.C.


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Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Personal Commentary: Sad announcement, Wayne Madsen, left, May 7, 2021. This website has lost a true friend. 

It is with deep sadness that I report that a longtime personal wayne madsen may 29 2015 cropped Smallfriend and colleague and a major booster of WMR, John Edward Hurley, passed away earlier this morning from cancer. John was a fixture at the National Press Club and someone whose work was reported extensively by WMR.

John, who was also known as John Edward by those like President Carter's Press Secretary Jody Powell, President Kennedy's Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, White House correspondent Helen Thomas, and conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, worked with the longtime doyenne of the White House Press Corps, Sarah McClendon, who died in 2003.

John was also the deputy White House bureau chief for the McClendon News Service, which Sarah established in 1946 as a wire service.

John took over also as chairman of her McClendon Group, which featured special speakers at the National Press Club that were often eschewed by the establishment press.

james clapper oAmong the speakers who John invited to speak, normally off-the-record, at the informal study group were the then-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency General James Clapper (shown at left as later National Security Advisor to President Obama), Washington, DC Mayor Marion Barry, former U.S. ambassador to Gabon Joe Wilson, current Nigerian muhammadu buhari chatham housePresident Muhammadu Buhari (below right), and former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel (D-AK).

John always had a kind word for those he knew and even those who he had just met. 

We are opening this announcement for comments by those who may have either known John or read about his past accomplishments and ordeals. Many of John's friends have hours of stories about him, so this is an opportunity to share some of them with our other readers.

John Edward Hurley, RIP.



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Advent Funeral and Cremation Services, Obituary of John Edward Hurley, John Edward Hurley was born on December 13, 1935 in Washington, D.C. and spent his entire life in the area. He is the son of Robert Emmett Hurley and Agnes (Mattingly) Hurley, brother of Robert and Michael and husband of the late Doris (Martin) Hurley. He graduated from Gonzaga College High School and attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

John, known as Jack to his family, had the gift of gab and regaled everyone with his vast vocabulary and knowledge of local, family and Civil War era history. He was an avid storyteller famously known to declare, “True story,” if a questioning look came into a listener’s eye. And while they very often were true, he conceded hyperbole on occasion. Jack loved animals, especially horses and was a skilled trainer of dogs and squirrels. His nieces and nephews fondly remember trick-or-treating with Nutley the Squirrel sitting on Uncle Jack’s shoulder.

His numerous connections with a wide range of organizations appear unusually diverse at first glance, but they share the common thread of an appreciation for integrity and commitment to truth — two things close to John’s heart.

He was a long-time member of the National Press Club, commentator on News Talk America, veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard who served as commander of the Club's American Legion Post 20 from 2007 to 2012 and stayed active as the Post's historian, co-founder of the Justice Integrity Project, sponsor of the Rappahannock Hunt, and dedicated member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia.

As a devout Catholic, John was a member of the Legion of Mary, led the Rosary Group and organized all night Adoration for the parish. He was a devoted member of the Workers of St. Joseph and along with his friend, Tony Silvia, for years anchored a weekly radio program discussing topics of interest to the faith. He loved God and sharing his faith with others.

John passed away on May 7, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia of lung cancer. He is survived by his brothers and their families: Robert and Carol Hurley of Alton, Illinois and Michael and Mary Hurley of Arlington, Virginia along with fifteen nieces and nephews and thirty-six great nieces and nephews.

John will be missed by many but his eloquent command of the English language, his passion for the relevance of history, and his simple joy at knowing God loved him will be long remembered. Rest in peace, Jack. We love you.

The Mass can be viewed by clicking this link.